Friday, July 16, 2010

Jean Luc says...Panzanella Rules!

I know...this is weird. I am combining my Beard of the Day post with a recipe. But what the's summer! The living is easy!

First, let's comment on Jean Luc, aka Sir Patrick Stewart. Ahhh, my most favorite of combinations....the bald head, the deliciously neatly groomed salt and pepper beard. It just doesn't get any better than this. Also, he has that naughty little twinkle in his eye. Mix in his buttery accent and he is swoon-worthy.

Next quick and easy recipe for panzanella, aka bread salad. This is probably my favorite summer recipe. It's a great side dish for a night of grilling, or perfect for a vegetarian entree all by itself. Here's my very simple version.....

Penny's Panzanella (like the alliteration?)

1 loaf of really good rustic white bread, sliced into thick pieces
1 cucumber sliced into chunks
2-3 tomatoes sliced into chunks (can also use cherry tomatoes halved)
big handful of fresh basil chopped up--I use lemon basil, sweet basil and cinnamon basil from my garden
small bit of red onion, sliced very thin
olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper

First, drizzle slices of bread with olive oil and salt and pepper. Put them on the grill for a couple of minutes until nicely browned. Turn them once and brown on the other side, too. This will go really fast! Don't burn them. Set them out on a plate to cool a bit.

In a bowl, mix together cukes, tomatoes, basil, onions and a nice drizzle of olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper and mix gently.

Tear up pieces of grilled bread into chunks and place in another separate bowl. (I don't like soggy bread salad, so I keep the components separate until I am just about to serve the salad.) When ready to serve, toss the grilled bread into the cuke bowl and gently mix together. Yum! Sometimes I add boccini (fresh mini-mozzarella balls) to the salad also.

My carnivorous husband doesn't like bread (he is Filipino) and he doesn't really like salad either. Needless to say, he makes fun of me big-time when I make this salad!

Happy Friday,